Lysenin is a pore-forming protein extracted from the earthworm Eisenia fetida, which inserts large conductance pores in artificial and natural lipid membranes containing sphingomyelin. Its cytolytic and hemolytic activity is rather indicative of a pore-forming toxin; however, lysenin channels present intricate regulatory features manifested as a reduction in conductance upon exposure to multivalent ions. Lysenin pores also present a large unobstructed channel, which enables the translocation of analytes, such as short DNA and peptide molecules, driven by electrochemical gradients. These important features of lysenin channels provide opportunities for using them as sensors for a large variety of applications. In this respect, this literature review is focused on investigations aimed at the potential use of lysenin channels as analytical tools. The described explorations include interactions with multivalent inorganic and organic cations, analyses on the reversibility of such interactions, insights into the regulation mechanisms of lysenin channels, interactions with purines, stochastic sensing of peptides and DNA molecules, and evidence of molecular translocation. Lysenin channels present themselves as versatile sensing platforms that exploit either intrinsic regulatory features or the changes in ionic currents elicited when molecules thread the conducting pathway, which may be further developed into analytical tools of high specificity and sensitivity or exploited for other scientific biotechnological applications.
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Bogard, Andrew; Abatchev, Gamid; Hutchinson, Zoe; Ward, Jason; Finn, Pangaea W.; McKinney, Fulton; and Fologea, Daniel. (2020). "Lysenin Channels as Sensors for Ions and Molecules". Sensors, 20(21), 6099-1 - 6099-25. https://dx.doi.org/10.3390/s20216099